During his entire career as a Tiger, Jamie Walker has been quite solid in his role as a lefty specialist. Coming into this year, since 2002 he’s posted a 3.45 ERA while striking out 3.3 batters for every walk allowed. He gave up 1.3 homers per 9, which is a little more than you’d hope for, but it wasn’t bad. Over that time period, Walker held left handed batters to a .217/.263/.374 line.
Walker has provided considerable, if not dominant consistency, in a role that is extremly volatile. Jon Weisman created a table of the relief pitchers who were in the top 100 in adjusted runs prevented each of the last 5 years. Walker made this list in 4 of the last 5 years, which if you scan the list you can see is a pretty impressive feat.
But this year, at the ripe old age of 34, Jamie Walker is having a break through season. After pitching 2 scoreless innings tonight, he has lowered his ERA to 0.95. In 28 1/3 innings he has allowed only 19 hits and 3 runs. Those 3 runs came on 3 solo homers. The most amazing stat though may be his 23/2 strikeout to walk ratio.
What’s interesting is that in looking at Jamie’s splits, he has actually faced more right handers than left handers. Right handed batters have only managed 145/175/164 against Walker. Surprsingly all 3 homers he’s allowed have been to lefties, and as a result his slugging percentage against is .571.
Walker will be a free agent after this year. Assuming he wants to stay in Detroit, I’m sure the Tigers would love to have him back. But the price will be steep. Walker is having a career year, and is left handed. If he can keep pitching like he has been he will be a rich man this winter.